TAMIL NADU

Ring road project in a whirlpool

The much-awaited ring road project for Erode Town has run into deep trouble with two groups of people clashing over the proposed alignment and levelling accusations against officials for not considering their demands.

The State government sanctioned the project a few years ago following repeated demands from people of the district. The State highways department was asked to implement it in two phases.

A sum of Rs. 22 crore was earmarked for the implementation of the first phase, in which a ring road will be formed connecting Kokkarayanpettai in Namakkal district with Thindal here. In the second phase, the road connects Thindal and Bhavani.

The department had initially proposed an alignment for the first phase, connecting Kokkarayanpettai with Thindal, and prepared an estimate for Rs. 32 crore, including the cost of land acquisition.

The government wanted the department to realign the route, including existing rural roads and complete the first phase within the fund allocated.

Accordingly, the officials had redrawn the alignment bringing down the cost, and began acquiring land required for the project a few months ago.

The land acquisition process ran into trouble, as some people started opposing the project.

They also formed two groups and started claiming that they were losing parts of their lands and wanted the officials to redraw the alignment. Petitions started to pour in at the district administration, vehemently opposing the execution of the project.

“We have completed acquiring 50 per cent of the land required for the project. A group of persons are not ready to give their lands. As a result, we face serious problems,” highway sources said.

The groups now have begun alleging that the alignment of the ring road was changed by the officials favouring a few “influential” persons.

Denying the allegations, officials asserted that the alignment was prepared after a detailed study.

“There is no problem with the alignment. It is based on a detailed study, and suits the present conditions,” a senior official said, on condition of anonymity.

“Only a few persons are opposing the project. We have received a number of petitions demanding the implementation of the project, as it will benefit thousands of people in Erode and neighbouring districts,” officials said.

The district administration has also initiated efforts to address the concerns raised by the groups opposing the project.